On a night with plentiful offense but very little defense, East Hall had just enough firepower to outlast the Chestatee War Eagles, taking a 56-41 win on the road.
The Vikings were led offensively by senior Kylan Curry, who contributed 150 receiving yards on three receptions, to go along with 115 yards on the ground, and scored four times — two receiving, two rushing.
“I was very proud of [the team],” East Hall head coach Scott Patrick said after the game. “They finally played the way I thought they could play.”
It was the first victory of the season for East Hall, and the first time this year the Vikings have scored more than six points in a game.
The win came despite a valiant effort from Chestatee quarterback Christian Charles who threw for 249 yards with one passing touchdown and one interception, and ran for 293 yards to go along with five rushing touchdowns.
“Christian played awesome,” Chestatee head coach Shaun Conley said. “But let me tell you, he’s as disappointed as anybody out here. He’s not concerned about Christian Charles. He’s concerned about our team.”
Charles started the game off hot, connecting with Seth Pressley for a couple of first downs in the first quarter before running in a touchdown from 11 yards out to put the War Eagles up 7-0.
The Vikings wasted no time in responding, taking the ball down the field on 12 plays in the ensuing possession, which culminated in a 7-yard connection from quarterback Zander Mann to D.J. Gray for a score.
An East Hall strip sack of Charles on the War Eagles next possession gave the ball back to the Vikings in plus territory to start the second quarter, and it only took four plays this time for East Hall to capitalize on the turnover.
After a fumbled snap on a wildcat play, Curry picked up the live ball and evaded a few tackles in the backfield. With the entire Chestatee defense pursuing toward the right side of the field, Curry saw an opening on the left, got to the edge and brought the ball all the way in from 20 yards to give the Vikings their first lead of the game, 14-7.
Curry scored again on a direct snap later in the quarter — this one from 18 yards out — and Mann hit Dylan Timms for a 58-yard touchdown strike in an explosive, 22-point second quarter for the Vikings.
But Charles refused to back down. He rushed it in from 71 yards out early in the second quarter to even things up at 14-all. He punched it in on the ground again later in the period — this time from 24 yards — to bring the War Eagles within a touchdown with less than a minute to go in the half. At halftime, the Vikings led 28-21.
Neither offense cooled off coming out of the break.
The teams traded scores on the first three possessions of the third quarter. East Hall running back Gimel Patta started the scoring off with a 1-yard plunge, but Charles quickly made it up with a 25-yard rushing score of his own to bring the deficit back to just one score.
On the first play of the Vikings’ ensuing possession, Mann hit Curry for a 65-yard receiving touchdown, giving them a two-score lead. Later in the quarter, the War Eagles capitalized on a Mann interception with yet another Charles rushing score, this time from 11 yards out.
But the East Hall offense just kept coming, scoring on the Vikings following possession off of a 4-yard pass from Mann to Xzavior Ramsey to put East Hall up 49-35.
After a brief scoring hiatus, Charles got the War Eagles back in business — this time through the air — by throwing a touchdown to Pressley from 23 yards out to make it a one-score game with just over five minutes left to play.
But for the second time in the game, it only took one play on the next East Hall possession for Curry to put the game back out of reach.
“Everybody told me, ‘come on K, give me one more,’” said Curry, who at that point in the game had already scored three touchdowns. “I told them, ‘I got you.’ I already knew I was going to score.”
He was as good as his word.
Curry took a short reception in the flat 78 yards down the left sideline, bringing it all the way into the end zone, halting the Chestatee comeback attempt.
Up two scores with just a few minutes left to play, the Vikings ran out the clock on the War Eagles comeback attempt, finishing off their first win of the season.
“We’ve still got a ways to go, but I think we’ve got that spark,” Patrick said. “We’ve got it back.”
East Hall will have a bye next week before traveling to Greater Atlanta Christian on Sept. 21. Chestatee will go on the road next Friday to take on Fannin County.